We have a newsletter that is mailed out to our members and I often write a letter about a text of Scripture that has impacted my life or something related to events in our church surrounding missions or other relevant happenings. This morning as I sat down to write the letter, I was thinking about our church and how blessed I am to pastor a 170 year old SBC church (yes, we are older than the SBC). One of those benefits is the great age diversity we enjoy within our congregation. Here is my letter about “hidden treasures” that I wrote to encourage our congregation:
Sometimes we overlook hidden treasures that are all around us. As I have been thinking about our church family in recent days, I have been confronted with a hidden treasure that my family benefits from greatly. That treasure is the age diversity of our church family.
I recall running at Panama City Beach, Florida several years ago. I was running alongside the beach in the early hours of the morning and I saw a church bus parked out by the hotel. The name on the side of the bus read “___________ Youth Church.” I thought about that as I was running along the road that morning. I can remember days when I thought that being a member of a church that was centered on the “young” population would be wonderful! However, the more I grow in the faith (perhaps in age as well), I see the enormous benefit of having a great mixture and diversity of age within our family of faith.
Titus 2 speaks of the older women and men training the younger women and men in practical and spiritual life issues. If that is God’s plan for the church, how is it possible as a member of a youth church? Today, one of the trends in the church community is centered upon planting churches that are “ultra relevant” young churches. While I think some of these churches are doing outstanding things for the Kingdom of Christ, I also see great dangers in a massive population of 20-30 year old families trying to lead other 20-30 year old families down the road of faith. Where is the older saint who is able to sit down over coffee and explain doctrine and practical living – and then see him sing the great truths of the faith with you on the Lord’s day? At Pray’s Mill – our hidden treasure is age diversity and we should cherish it greatly!
The older population can benefit from the younger population. As time passes and the older believers who once led in many practical areas of the church are forced to slow down their pace – the younger believers are there to take the baton. The older population can see a great benefit from having the younger believers there to hear the stories, be taught the doctrines, and carry on the vision that they have labored to achieve over many years. This dynamic of age diversity runs both directions! Both age populations benefit one another in the life of the church.
For me personally, as I have thought about this treasure in my life in recent years, I am convinced that if I was not called into the ministry – I would still be a member at Pray’s Mill Baptist Church. I see our church as a healthy church that is desiring to be more healthy in the days to come. This may sound crazy, but I want my children to see funeral homes, gray hair, wrinkles, walkers, canes, and wheel chairs. I want my children to know what a homebound member is in the life of the church. I desire for my family and I to see brothers and sisters remain faithful as age increases and health fails. I want my children to see my wife and I living out our faith, but beyond that, I want them to see other saints finishing their course well. That dynamic is missing in the young trendy youth church, and that is why we have a hidden treasure to celebrate!
To the older saints in our church – I love you and thank you for setting an example worth following. To the younger believers in our church – don’t miss out on this extremely important treasure. Take time to sit around the table with our older brothers and sisters and learn about life, doctrine, and how to finish your course well.
All glory and praise to the King of the ages – Jesus Christ,
Pastor Josh Buice